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Are the Heat really the worst rebounding team in the NBA?

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The Miami Heat are ranked at the bottom of a lot of rebounding statistics, but are they really the worst rebounding team in the NBA?

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

For the past two seasons, and so far this season, the Miami Heat have been the worst rebounding team statistically in the NBA. So far this year the Heat are grabbing a league worst 36.3 rebounds per game.

But as we all know, statistics can sometimes be misleading. What appears to be one thing may actually not end up being entirely truthful in the end. Is that the case for the Miami Heat and their rebounding woes? Let's take a look at some of the things going on behind the scene.

Here's some statistics to consider:

Miami ranks 30th in rebounds per game at 36.3
Miami ranks 29th in rebounding differential at -3.8
Miami ranks 29th in both offensive and defensive rebounding
Miami ranks 30th in rebounding percentage (chances)

All this will and should lead you to believe that the Heat have a rebounding problem. And they do, I'm not trying to come up with some creative way to shake off what is clearly an issue. With Chris Bosh, Chris Andersen, Shawne Williams and Josh McRoberts expected to cover most of the rebounding responsibilities, there is bound to be lapses of productivity.

While all the numbers seem to suggest the Heat need to get bigger and stronger inside, let me offer you some alternative statistics that aren't often covered.

Miami ranks 5th in offensive rebounds allowed at 9.6 per game
Miami ranks 7th in defensive rebounds allowed at 30.4 per game
Miami ranks 4th in total rebounds allowed at 40.1 per game
Miami ranks 9th in points allowed at 97.8 per game

So how do we reconcile these two things? On one hand, it seems the Heat are terrible at grabbing rebounds...but on the other hand it seems they are great at preventing others from getting rebounds. It just looks ironic.

Shooting Percentages
I believe most of the answer can be found in shooting percentages. The Heat rank 7th in the NBA in FG% at 47%, which obviously limits their opportunities to rebound offensively. Make sense? Take it this way. The Detroit Pistons are the best offensive rebounding team in the NBA. Sounds impressive behind big boys Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. But they are also the worst shooting team in the NBA at 40% FG. More misses =  more chances to rebound.

Likewise, on the other side of the ball, the Heat are letting teams shoot at 47% from the field and rank 27th in the NBA in opponents FG%. Less misses = less chances to rebound. The Golden State Warriors currently are holding teams to an NBA best 41% FG. They're also 3rd in the NBA in rebounds! Does Andrew Bogut scare you? No, but more misses = more rebounds. And that's all without David Lee.

There's still an issue
In 18 games this season, the Heat have only out-rebounded their opposition 4 times. They have a rebounding issue. Does it mean they are the worst rebounding team in the NBA? I don't know that's true. They have fewer opportunities to rebound, and they aren't giving up massive amounts of rebounds to their opponents (once again, the Heat rank 7th in FG% at 46%).

Miami certainly needs to do better on the glass. That will help when the begin to keep players out of the paint. Miami isn't playing small ball anymore this year (unless you count Shawne Williams as small). They are using lineups that can and should rebound, but they are below average.

I'm just not convinced that they are the worst rebounding team in the NBA.